Best things to do in London

You’ve decided to visit London, and naturally, you’re now wondering what are the best things to do in London. Home to four World Heritage Sites, and countless epic attractions, London is of the most interesting places to visit in the world. You’ll have so much to do and see in London, you can never tire of the English capital.

London is a diverse city, known for its art, culture and hipster neighbourhoods. You’ll have so much great food, excellent coffee and delicious desserts. Being so multicultural, you will always find something new to experience.

Whether you visit London to see its main highlights like the Big Ben, Tower Bridge or the Sky Garden or decide to dive right in and see of the off the beaten path attractions, London will be an adventure of a lifetime. Don’t forget to check where to stay in London and what to wear in London for your comfort.

Visiting London is always a great idea. Here are all the London attractions you need to add to the list.

Things to do in London

With so many things to do in London, you can imagine why it’s one of the most visited cities in the world. We recommend at least 4 days in London, to get to see the main highlights. You’re in for a lot of fun in London as you’ll get to experience so many great activities.

There are plenty of touristic points you will want to check out. There are many free museums in London so while London is expensive, there are ways to visit it and enjoy it on a budget.

Among some of the best things to do in London is seeing the famed Westminster Palace, riding the London Eye, checking out all the museums, visiting the gorgeous Kew Gardens and touring the Tower Bridge. Of course, if you decide to stay longer, there are plenty of great day trips from London too.Here are all the things to do in London on your next trip.

Seeing London from above in a day

Big Ben

The Elizabeth Tower, commonly referred to as the Big Ben, is London’s most iconic landmark. The name Big Ben was given to the bell itself, which weights over 13 tonnes. The best time to visit the Big Ben is during nighttime, when the tower is illuminated. Unfortunately, the Big Ben is not open to visitors from abroad, however, a UK resident can write to their local MP and ask to arrange a visit.

To see the Big Ben, head towards the Palace of Westminster and admire the gothic revival architecture in all its glory.

Big Ben London

The House of Parliament

Another icon landmark is the House of Parliament, a majestic gothic building located right in the heart of England’s capital. The UK Parliament is also known as the Palace of Westminster, and serves the meeting place for both House of Commons and the House of Lords. It’s located on the north banks of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London.

The House of Parliament features three towers: The Victoria tower which is also the tallest, the Central Tower which is the smallest and the Elizabeth Tower which is the most famous and home to the Big Ben bell. You can purchase tickets in advance for a tour around the House of Parliament.

To photograph is, cross the Westminster Bridge to the other side of the River Thames.

4 days London itinerary

Natural History Museum

If you love David Attenborough’s documentaries, you are going to love visiting the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, London. Now, it can take several hours to visit it all so make sure you allocate enough time to see it all. This sure is one of London’s most interesting museums.

Arrive as early in the morning as possible and if you still have energy, enjoy a delicious meal at the museum’s cafeteria before containing in your exploration.

Tickets are totally free, although you do need to book your entry tickets in advance. Some special exhibitions might have a nominal entry fee.

natural history museum in London

London Eye

It’s iconic and a must do when you visit London, the London Eye sure is on everyone’s wish list. And rightfully so, because you can get incredible views over the capital and see some great buildings from atop.

Sometimes referred to as the Millennium Wheel, this major attraction in London is the most popular paid attraction in the whole of the United Kingdom. It welcomes over 3 million visitors annually, so you can imagine why it’s imperative that you book it well in advance.

Just get your camera ready, as you’re going to enjoy some impressive views over the city. As a tip, we recommend timing your arrival, so you can enjoy a perfect sunset over London’s skyline.

London Eye Night Vibrant

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is a superb royal church with over a thousand years of history. It is known to be the site of coronations and other important ceremonies of national significance, especially when it comes to the British Royal family. For example, many Royal weddings took event here, including the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Westminster Abbey is the most famous of all British Royal Wedding locations, as Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip tied the knot here. You can visit the Westminster Abbey, but it’s much recommended that you prebook your entry ticket.

24 hours in London Westminster Abbey

Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge is a Grade I listed bridge that crosses the River Thames, close to Tower of London. It’s one of the five London bridges currently owned and maintained by a charity established in 1282.

The Tower Bridge was constructed to create better access to East London. This bridge is a well recognisable landmark which is sometimes confused to the London Bridge, which is located 0.5 miles upstream.

You can cross the bridge by car or on foot. Visit the Tower Bridge exhibitions housed in the twin towers. Visitors can also access the original steam engines that once powered the bascules.

4 days London itinerary

Tower of London

Experience the remarkable architecture of the Tower and London and admire the Crown jewels. Learn about the tales of torture the Tower of London is known for, then take a moment to enjoy serene panoramic views over London.

The Tower of London is considered an iconic castle and World Heritage Site. The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times. Nowadays known for the famous crown jewels exhibition, there’s a lot more to the tower than meets the eye.

The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England.

Don’t forget to book your tickets here.

Tower of London, UK

British Museum

The British Museum is one of London’s most well known museums that features a collection of over 2 million years of human history. The most visited attraction within the Museum is the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures, and the Egyptian mummies. As always, we recommend spending several hours enjoying all the exhibitions.

The permanent exhibition has a collection of eight million works, and it’s known to document the story of human culture from the beginning to the present.

Admission to the British Museum is free, although you can always decide if you wish to make a donation. It’s imperative that you prebook your slot in advance.

British museum London

The British Library

The British Library is well known primarily because it houses the Magna Carta. Magna Carta is a charter written by King John back in 1215. Although most of the charter’s clauses dealt with medieval rights and customs, Magna Carta has become a powerful symbol of liberty around the world. The most famous clause, which is still part of the law today, for the first time gave all ‘free men‘ the right to justice and a fair trial.

Don’t worry, if you are not a legal geek like me, you can see many cool things at the British Library, including the Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebook or some Beatles manuscripts. Access to the Library is free, although some exhibitions cost a few pounds. You can apply for a reader pass if you wish to access the reading rooms.

Kew Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew is a world heritage which comprises over 130 hectares of landscapes and gardens, a wonderful treetop walk and beautiful glasshouses which are home to hundreds of world’s rarest plant species.

The palm house is probably the icon of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew, but you must not miss the Princess of Wales Conservatory or the Waterlily House. There are often spectacular exhibitions held at Kew, so make sure to check their official website regularly.

Kew is known internationally due to its seed bank. Scientists at Kew are continuously collecting seeds from all around the world, to ensure the survival of many flora species.

Kew Gardens is just 20 minutes walk from Richmond Park, so if you wish to combine both attractions in one, you can easily do so. Both fantastic things to do in London, especially if you love plants, gardens and the outdoors.

Book your ticket to Kew Gardens here and don’t forget to add an audio guide as narrated by a botanist.

Kew Garden Cactus Area

The National Gallery is an art museum located in Trafalgar Square. It houses over 2000 paintings including works of art from Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner, Renoir and Van Gogh.

The admission to the National Gallery is free, and you can pick up an audio guide available in multiple languages. There are even free guided tours and free kids actives.

Allocate around three to four hours, but you might want to reserve around half a day to explore the gallery properly.

National art gallery london

Buckingham Palace

Seeing the Buckingham Palace is a must-do in London. No doubt it’s on everyone’s bucket list, seeing as it is the London residence for the Queen.

Tour 19 remarkable rooms, decorated with tasteful items from the Royal Collection. The Buckingham Palace is still in use today and during the summer months, it hosts special exhibitions which cannot be missed. T

his is a brilliant opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Royal life. Remember it’s not just the decor you will enjoy, but also British art and masterpieces by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto. Don’t miss the changing of the guard, a ceremony that takes place on certain days throughout the year.

You do not need to book a ticket to see this ceremony, but we do advise that you don’t stand in the way to impede anyone in the march.

Book your Buckingham Palace tour here.

Buckingham Palace london

Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s greatest museum of art and design, and it’s located in South Kensington. Here, you can enjoy over 3,000 years of human creativity. To top it all up, the admission is of course, free! Make sure you allocate lots of time to really enjoy your visit.

It can take hours to see it all, but it’s well worth your time, being one of the best things to do in London. There are several permanent collections as well as pop up exhibitions to keep everyone entertained.

It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Victoria and Albert Museum is open seven days a week, and you don’t require to book in advance. Simply turn up and enjoy!

Victoria and Albert museum London

Tate Modern

Tate Modern is a contemporary art museums located by the river banks. You can freely enjoy works of arts by Cézanne, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, Dalí, Pollock, Warhol and Bourgeois.

There are certain temporary exhibitions which have an entry fee, although the general admission is completely free. It’s really spectacular, and you are guaranteed to encounter some things which will make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

There are some exhibitions that sell out within hours of being put online, to which only members of the Tate get further tickets and access. So if you have your eyes on a certain exhibition, it’s best to book well in advance.

Timed free tickets are required for Tate Modern so make sure to prebook your tickets online.

Tate Modern London

The Shard

There is no trip to London without catching the sunset over its rooftops. Although England’s capital might not be as imposing as Tokyo, it still looks impressive from above. At a height of one of Western Europe’s highest buildings, The Shard offers spectacular views over London for up to 40 miles. At 244 m, twice as high as any other vantage point in the city, it is the best place to admire London in all its glory.

While it’s been a controversial addition to the the London skyline, many love this attraction. Book a table at one of the restaurants or hotel rooms which offer breathtaking views over London.

Book tickets to the Shard.

The shard in London

Science Museum

This is the most visited Science Museum in Europe and it’s one of the best things to do in London irrespective of your age. It’s located in South Kensington, London.

For a visit with your children, know that it has several interactive exhibitions as well as 3D and 4D simulators. The entry is free, however, there are special exhibitions which do have a small fee.

The museum was founded in 1857. Don’t forget to book your free tickets online.

Science museum in London

SEA LIFE Centre London Aquarium

Take a trip beneath the ocean’s surface and immerse yourself in one of Europe’s largest collection of marine life. At the Sea Life in London, you can walk under the Tropical Ocean and see some wonderful sea creatures, from sharks to rare jellyfish.

Find about penguins, sea turtles, sharks and more. It takes around one hour to enjoy the full experience but allocate a little longer if visiting with kids. It’s located on the south bank of River Thames in central London right next to the London Eye.

It’s a popular attraction, opened since 1997, that welcomes over one million visitors every year.

Book your tickets to SEA LIFE London here.

Snake at the London Aquarium

Kings Cross Railway Station

This one if for the Harry Potter fans who don’t have the possibility to go to the Warner Bros studios located in Watford.

King’s Cross was featured in the Harry Potter books and movies. It is famed due to the platform 9¾ accessed through the brick wall barrier between platforms 9 and 10. You can go to the King Cross Station and look around the dedicated store where you can purchase odd tasting jelly beans, magic wands and Hogwarts scarves.

Besides that, Kings Cross is a major train station in London and one from which many travel to the continent from, as it is linked to St Pancras International.

Kings Cross in London

Madame Tussauds London

On my first visit to London, I actually went straight to Madame Tussauds. This is because I saw a documentary on how long it takes to make the wax figurines. I became incredibly fascinated by the subject and really wanted to see these models for myself.

The trip around the museum is absolutely fantastic. There is more about Madame Tussauds than meets the eye. You can enjoy a journey back through history to see the London fire and you will even experience the London dungeons where stage actors dressed in creepy clothing are sure to make your heart race!

One of the most well known attractions in London, see the photograph life-size wax replicas of famed celebrities and icons. Book your tickets for Madame Tussauds here.

Madame Tussauds in London

London Dungeons

Everyone loves a good horror story, and London is the perfect stage for it. The London Dungeon is a signature attraction which has been charming tourists for almost 40 years. Here, you can enjoy a 90-minute journey through 1000 years of London’s murky past. The shows are based on real events, some funny, others quite scary.

Fair warning, there are live actors paid to play so chances are you will be invited to participate one way or another. If you are an introvert who wants to be left alone, you might want to skip this one. It’s one of the fun things to do in London for extroverts, for sure.

Book your tickets for the London Dungeons.

London England Night

Oxford Street

Nothing says shopping better than Oxford Street in London. Dotted with shopping boutiques and world’s renowned brands, you are sure to find that perfect outfits needed for further exploration around London.

Oxford Street can get a bit overwhelming and crazy, as tourists from all around the world come here specifically to shop. London is an international fashion hub, running from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch via Oxford Circus.

It’s actually Europe’s busiest street, so make sure you take your time exploring it all.

Oxford street in London

Millennium Bridge

You’ve seen it collapse during the Harry Potter film “Half-Blood Prince” but in reality, the Millennium Bridge is still very much intact. You can walk on this steel suspension bridge over the River Thames and enjoy beautiful views of the St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Officially it’s called London Millennium Footbridge and the beauty of it is that it’s made for pedestrians only. Like the Tower Bridge, it’s owned by a charitable trust.

St-Pauls Cathedral

Hyde Park

Love the outdoors? The good news is that London is home to so many parks, including the beautiful Hyde Park., a Grade I listed major park in Central London.

It’s actually the largest of four Royal Parks. The park is free to enter between 5 am and midnight all day every day.

Did you know that the words Hyde Park Corner were used as a codeword to announce to the government the death of King George VI?

Want to bike through the London Royal parks, including Hyde Park? Book your tickets for the tour here.

Hyde Park London

West End

One of the best things to do in London is to book tickets to the West End theatre. Along with New York City’s Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered representing the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. You can imagine that tickets sell well in advance and pretty fast too.

The term West End was coined in the 19th century to describe the fashionable London area west of Charing Cross. It’s not just the West End Theatre here, but lots of other great attractions in the area, as Westminster and Camden market are both in West London.

West end theatre and shows in London

Emirates Air Line

Did you know that you can see London from above by taking the Emirates gondola over London? You will cross from the Royal Docks to the Greenwich Peninsula.

Enjoy great views over London as the Ai Line crosses the Thames. Cabins arrive every 30 seconds and flights are approximately 10 minutes each way. After 19:00 each day, flight are extended to approximately 25 minutes (12-13 minutes each way) so you can enjoy an even more relaxing trip across the Thames.

Each trip costs around £5 per adult.

Emirates air line

Convent Garden

Covent Garden is a shopping and entertainment hub in London. See fashion stores, enjoy food at the local markets of chill at some of the best high end cocktails in the city. If you’re after luxury and style, Covent garden is the place for you.

Whether you are after free walking tours, want to visit the Royal opera house, or just fancy some shopping, you should add Covent garden to your list of epic things to do in London.

Covent Garden London

With so much stuff to do and see, London is well worth a visit. It’s definitely one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, but you can never tire of it. Why would you like to go to London? What is the first thing to do in London you will want to experience? Let me know in the comment section below.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory Varga is a licensed travel agent and published travel writer. Her main expertise is writing about Japan, where she happily lives with her husband.
Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan and wants to share more about the local customs with the rest of the world.
While Cory has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries, Japan remains her favorite place to live and write about. Cory is multilingual.


6 responses to “Best things to do in London”

  1. Luiz Avatar

    Thank you for this amazing blog on the things to do in London. London is a beautiful place to visit . My trip to London was full of excitement. The entire process was so effortless and easy.

  2. Luisa Sequiro Avatar
    Luisa Sequiro

    Such a great city, worth a visit for sure, and also worth checking out as a place to live and work, nowhere better than London.

  3. Alan Window Avatar
    Alan Window

    You can visit Big Ben, you get tickets through your London Embassy/Consulate (or your MP if resident)

  4. Ibtissam Avatar

    I absolutely adore London. I lived there for about a year and a half before I moved to sunny Rome. Weirdly enough, I really miss the hustle and bustle of the city. Afternoon teas and English breakfasts are just one thing that I’m having a hard time living without!
    Ibtissam | The London Rack

  5. Alhajri Joseph Avatar
    Alhajri Joseph

    Hi, The blog is nice.

  6. Clark Avatar

    Thank you so much for these information. We will spend our vacation in UK next month but there are some places that we are not familiar. Good thing I found this article. So excited to visit England .

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